I don’t know any conservative who thought that Donald Trump’s wins in the primaries or being elected to the presidency were a win for American conservatism. The best we as conservatives could hope for was that Trump would be influenced by conservative individuals and organizations working with his transition team. And it looks like that might be the case in at least one area; that of paring down the size and scope of federal departments.
According to The Hill, massive cuts to federal programs under multiple departments are being set on the chopping block.
The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.
The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.
That’s going to hit the left hard. But if there’s one thing conservatives and moderate Republicans can agree on it’s the need to stop the bleeding with the national debt.
Details of the preliminary budget won’t be known until after Trump’s inauguration on the 20th, and it’s unclear if the two biggest programs that add to the debt, Social Security and Medicare, will be any part of the proposed budget. Trump has stated that he won’t cut the welfare entitlements, but Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have long insisted that the programs must be cut in order to save them.
How or if Trump actually believes he can reduce the debt in a meaningful way or ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare without reforming those programs remains to be seen. As with everything related to Trump’s presidency, we really don’t know what he’s going to do until he does it.
As a conservative, I’ll take this first foray into setting budgets and slashing superfluous programs under the guidance of an organization like The Heritage Foundation and the Republican Study Committee as a step in the right direction toward fiscal conservatism.